Students use Car Free Day to protest high school virginity tests

Liputan 6 – September 15, 2013
Women protest virginity tests at Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Jakarta - September 15, 2013 (Liputan6)
Women protest virginity tests at Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Jakarta - September 15, 2013 (Liputan6)

Ahmad Romadoni, Jakarta – The momentum of Car Free Day along the length of Jl. Sudirman-Thamrin in Central Jakarta on Sunday September 15 was used by scores of students to call for actions rejecting the planned virginity test for high-school students that have been making the rounds of late.

The students, who came from the Women’s Action Committee (KAP) started the action by marching around the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle and putting up banners rejecting the test.

This was followed by speeches in front of the Grand Indonesia shopping complex. The calls of opposition to the test attracted the attention of local people who were enjoying a Sunday out in and around the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle with many taking time out to watch and take photographs of the action, which was dominated by women activists.

Action coordinator Ara Koswara said that the action was prompted by feelings of concern about the virginity test as a condition for being eligible for education, which they deemed to be another form of discrimination against women, specifically teenage women.

“Women in Indonesia are still very much at the bottom and kept down, ridden by discrimination, sold, including teenage women. Many rogue elements take advantage of and exploit teenage women”, said Koswara during a break in the action.

The group also said that the virginity test is a trick because not all women who are not virgins are so because of their own misconduct.

“Virginity tests have been carried out several times around the country. A women’s virginity is tested, it turns out she’s not a virgin, they she can’t get an education. Yet, not being a virgin may well be because she is a victim of a crimes such as rape, for example. This is a trick”, said Koswara.

Koswara said that in addition to the action at the Hotel Indonesia, actions rejecting the test have also been held at several schools. Concerned students have invited their friends to be more concerned about themselves.

“They the students are also continuing to campaign against the virginity test. But [also] supporting a curriculum that teaches reproductive health. This is not to teach something that is wrong, but to teach teenagers to be concerned about their reproductive health and concerned about themselves”, asserted Koswara.

[Aksi Tolak Tes Keperawanan Warnai Car Free Day – 15/09/2013. Translated by James Balowski.]